Thirsty Dragon: China's Lust for Bordeaux and the Threat to the World's Best Wines (Hardcover)
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An inside view of China's quest to become a global wine power and Bordeaux's attempt to master the thirsty dragon it helped create
The wine merchants of Bordeaux and the rising entrepreneurs of China would seem to have little in common—Old Europe versus New China, tradition versus disruption, loyalty versus efficiency. And yet these two communities have found their destinies intertwined in the conquest of new markets, as Suzanne Mustacich shows in this provocative account of how China is reshaping the French wine business and how Bordeaux is making its mark on China.
Thirsty Dragon lays bare the untold story of how an influx of Chinese money rescued France's most venerable wine region from economic collapse, and how the result was a series of misunderstandings and crises that threatened the delicate infrastructure of Bordeaux's insular wine trade. The Bordelais and the Chinese do business according to different and often incompatible sets of rules, and Mustacich uncovers the competing agendas and little-known actors who are transforming the economics and culture of Bordeaux, even as its wines are finding new markets—and ever higher prices—in Shanghai, Beijing, and Hong Kong, with Hong Kong and London traders playing a pivotal role.
At once a tale of business skullduggery and fierce cultural clashes, adventure, and ambition, Thirsty Dragon offers a behind-the-scenes look at the challenges facing the world's most famous and prestigious wines.
About the Author
Suzanne Mustacich is a contributing editor at Wine Spectator. She was previously a Bordeaux correspondent for Agence France Presse, a columnist for the Chinese magazine Wine Life, a contributor to Wine Business International, and a television producer for NBC News and several production companies. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Yale University and an enology diploma from the University of Bordeaux. She lives in Bordeaux with her family.
Winner of the André Simon Drink Book Award
Winner of the Louis Roederer International Wine Book of the Year Award
Named Among the Best Books of the Year in Financial Times
Named a Best Wine Book by The Wall Street Journal and San Jose Mercury News
"Delectable reading.”—The Wall Street Journal (The Best Books for Wine Lovers)
"Riveting....[Mustacich has] a deep understanding of the wildly differing but now heavily entwined cultures of Bordeaux and China."—Jancis Robinson, Financial Times
“As a wine correspondent in Bordeaux for the past decade, Mustacich has compiled an impressive amount of research on the product’s global flow, recording comments from both tight-lipped châteaux owners and Chinese businessmen.”—The New Republic
“Fascinating…. Mustacich's excellent narrative…depicts both the frenetic unpredictability of life in China and the befuddlement of the Bordelais as their clubby world is overrun by people whose language they do not speak and whose motivations the do not understand.”—The Street.com
"This is a major contribution to wine literature. I can’t think of any books since George M. Taber’s The Judgement of Paris (2006) and Elin McCoy’s The Emperor of Wine (2006) that have dealt with such a pivotal moment in wine in such a thorough and professional way. . . . This is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand how Bordeaux really works – and who wants to understand how China is changing the world of wine."—Meininger's Wine Business International
“You think you're Bordeaux obsessed? Nothing compares to China's unquenchable thirst for these storied French wines. Suzanne Mustacich delves into this lust with historical references and stories of the famous first growths, importers and collectors.”—San Jose Mercury News (5 Best Wine Reads)
"Suzanne is an experienced journalist and writer, and a great storyteller…Thirsty Dragon tells a story…of what happens when history, tradition, commerce, greed and politics merge, seen through the lives of a great cast of characters. Reading this book is like walking alongside the winemakers, market makers, politicians, investigators and salespeople as they live through one of the most amazing, and intense, changes in the balance of power in the world."—Thirst for Wine
“Mustacich's tale will hit a sweet spot. A well-researched look into yet another global market undergoing significant growth due to Chinese businesses and consumers.”—Kirkus Reviews
“I enjoyed reading Thirsty Dragon, or should I say, savoring it. It goes far beyond the typical tale of Bordeaux wine connoisseurship. It's a riveting roller coaster ride through the past decade of the West's relations with China, offering a front-row seat on China's relentless rise to economic power, while exposing a bitter residue of counterfeiting and corruption, all packaged in the form of an easy-to-drink glass of fine wine.” —William Echikson, author of Noble Rot: A Bordeaux Revolution
“China's fraught encounter with Bordeaux is usually depicted as a tale of mutual incomprehension, but Suzanne Mustacich reveals a more surprising story: In their appetites for risk, wealth, and prestige, the two sides have more in common than they ever imagined. For those who dream of fortune in China, this is a tale of business, hubris, and discovery.” —Evan Osnos, author of Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth, and Faith in the New China
“Thirsty Dragon is an intriguing, comprehensive, often suspenseful, and sometimes hilarious account of the unlikely courtship dance between Bordeaux and China. Suzanne Mustacich spares neither side as she unravels the history of this unholy alliance.” —Jay McInerney, author of Bright Lights, Big City and Bacchus and Me: Adventures in the Wine Cellar
“Thirsty Dragon is a fascinating look inside China through an unusual, and illuminating prism - wine. The story of China's growing appetite for wine and the storms of adventure, greed, corruption and folly that it unleashes are well-told in this book. I found myself learning more about China from this ground-up approach than from many books that look at the big picture. Worth reading, especially with a nice glass of wine at your side.” —Fareed Zakaria, author of The Post-American World and The Future of Freedom